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Senate's marriage amendment is what voters want

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There’s Nothing Hateful About Protecting Marriage

Senate’s marriage amendment is what voters want

According to the New York Times, DNC Chairman Howard Dean has an extensive plan to win elections and revive a Democratic majority. No, it doesn’t call for fundamental changes in the Democratic message; rather, it calls for grassroots efforts to heighten the presence of Democratic ideas in Republican strongholds by using catchy slogans like "Republicans are stupid, brain-dead, white Christians." With that kind of language, Utah is sure to go blue for the first time since 1964 in 2008.

The latest spew of ignorance to come from Howard Dean criticized the Senate’s proposed Marriage Protection Amendment as "discriminatory, hateful, and divisive." This is after mistakenly telling Tim Russert that the Democratic Party is firmly against gay "marriage." He later backtracked after a gay-rights lobbying group demanded that its recent contribution to the DNC be returned. When money is at stake, principles go out the window.

If a Marriage Protection Amendment is ever going to be passed, conservatives must dispel the myth that opposition to same-sex "marriage" is not the same as hatred of gays. Rather, it is the exact opposite, according to the leaders of the religious world. Activism by conservatives on behalf of marriage stems not from bigotry, but from the desire to preserve the "most enduring and important human institution," according to President Bush, "which cannot be cut off from its cultural, religious, and natural roots."

Unfortunately, we live in a world wherein opposition to an agenda is perceived as outright hatred of those who push it. Many of my liberal friends have questioned how I can have gay friends, all of whom I think are wonderful individuals, and be against gay "marriage." This is possible in that we are to treat our neighbors as we would like to be treated. This rule does not, however, obligate either party to support the other’s politics, nor does it oblige the nation to redefine an institution that is the building block of society. One can have gay friends and be opposed to same-sex "marriage" in the same way that one can be friends with African-Americans and be against "reparations."

In the midst of falling poll numbers and an increasingly dissatisfied Republican base, the Senate is ready to vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment. The weeks leading up to this critical debate have been filled with petition drives nationwide, perhaps most notably by the Knights of Columbus and the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops. It is a big issue with values voters, who largely contributed to the President’s re-election in 2004. Until now, many issues important to the Catholic and Protestant communities have been brushed aside by the White House.

Faced with criticism from the conservative base, gay-rights groups, and the Democratic Party, President Bush began the week with a push for the amendment in the Rose Garden. Mary Cheney, Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter, has publicly criticized the President’s stance on the issue, much to the chagrin of the conservative base.

While many criticize the amendment as writing discrimination into the Constitution, it is in reality an attempt to protect marriage as it has been defined for eons. Moreover, the amendment seeks to halt the onslaught of litigation and challenges to state constitutional amendments, which have passed by enormous margins in every single state that has put the issue before the electorate.

Still, many want to reduce marriage to nothing more than a relationship between "people that love each other." The fact is, marriage has always been about protecting society through procreation. According to the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, marriage is an institution FOUNDED BY GOD, to achieve the full union of complimentarity between male and female, for the purpose of bringing new life into the world. Very simply, if marriage was simply about "people that love each other" gay marriage would have been accepted centuries ago, along with other versions of "marriage."

In addition to wanting to protect marriage as it was created by God, the amendment is crucial if we are to protect the nation from the slippery slope which follows public recognition of same-sex "marriage." The Netherlands, which legalized gay "marriage" quite some time ago, bestowed it’s first "group civil union" on a man and two women in 2005, according to the Times. The trio is now fighting for marriage rights.

More shocking, perhaps, is the curtailing of free-speech rights in Canada after it legalized same-sex "marriage." A lesbian couple in British Columbia sued the Knights of Columbus, a charitable Catholic men’s group for refusing to rent its social hall to the couple for their "wedding" reception after finding out that the couple was gay. The Knight in charge of booking the hall for events worked with one of the lesbians at the local Costco. After the Human Rights Tribunal ordered the Knights of Columbus to pay an unspecified amount to the couple for "emotional damages," the Knight was fired from Costco by his openly-gay supervisor for "workplace hostility." Additionally, a Catholic priest is awaiting trial by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for giving a homily in which he criticized Canada’s legalization of same-sex "marriage."

The protection of marriage is essential to preserving society as we know it. Marriage was recognized by the state long after it was created by God. The autonomy of the state does not authorize it to redefine a sacred institution created by God and nature merely for the sake of guaranteeing benefits to gays, who are deserving of dignity and respect. If we allow liberals to reduce marriage to being defined as a mere benefits package, we risk altering free-speech rights while sliding down a slope of no return.

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Mr. Lewis is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.

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